Shah Rukh Khan had once responded to people calling him out for not speaking up like Meryl Streep did against Trump. He had essentially said that he didn't have the right platform to do so because he wasn't winning any awards.
Of course, his statement was in good humour. But in doing so, he had managed to dodge the question.
Well, the question has been asked again. Especially now, that he was seen clicking pictures with the PM, as most Bollywood celebrities often do.
People don't just follow actors in this country, they worship them. Sure, the actors didn't ask for the Godly status bestowed upon them, but they don't seem to mind much when this status rakes up 100s of crores when their films hit the theatre.
Or when they make films about socially relevant topics and go on a PR campaign tour talking about the issue like an expert for days without even making a pit stop.
Even to the sanest of minds, it almost seems believable that these gods indeed care about people.
Except when there is a crisis in the country, they all just seem to go quiet. Only this time, Twitter has called them out!
Dear @iamsrk as the most famous alumnus of Jamia Millia Islamia, don’t you have something to say about the brutal violence your alma mater’s current and former students are undergoing?— Nayantara Mazumder (@maz_tara) December 16, 2019
Sincerely, your biggest fan. #JamiaProtest #SRK
Our Bollywood personalities including my beloved @iamsrk are spineless. At times when fans want to hear from them they go silent. 2 years from now @akshaykumar will make a move on the Delhi Police and make another 300cr. #ShameonBollywood— Luqmaan Khwaja (@SkLuqmaan) December 17, 2019
Dear Indians, you know who all support the Govt on #CAA_NRC. The film stars, TV artists, Sportsmen, celebrities, News Anchors, Politicians. You need to boycott all of them.— Kapil (@kapsology) December 17, 2019
Do not buy a ticket to watch their movies. Do not buy the products they endorse.
And this is not the only time this has happened.
Remember when his film Pink was about to release, how Amitabh Bachchan went on about championing women empowerment for weeks?
But when the senior actor was asked for his comments on the Kathua rape case, he said:
Even discussing this issue feels disgusting, don't bring up this issue. It is terrible to even talk about it.
Also, when Priyanka Chopra was trolled about wearing a skirt during her meeting with PM Modi, Mr Bachchan said:
I am neither the PM nor Priyanka Chopra. How can I answer then?
This had come just weeks after he had written an open letter to his granddaughters saying:
Don't let anyone make you believe that the length of your skirt is a measure of your character. This may be a difficult, difficult world to be a woman. But I believe that it is women like you that will change that.
SRK, who has made countless statements about his terrible ordeal after being stopped at US airports, has yet to speak a word on the ever-worsening conditions for Muslims in his own country.
It's worse now because the actor himself is an alumnus of Jamia Millia Islamia.
Shah Rukh - @iamsrk - son of a freedom fighter, alumnus of Jamia— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) December 16, 2019
Aamir - @aamir_khan - family of freedom fighters, descendant of Maulana Azad
Salman - @BeingSalmanKhan - Being Human
Indians made them stars. But they are mute when their voice is needed. What are u scared about?
Yesterday, Twitter went after the nationalist icon of Bollywood, Akshay Kumar for 'accidentally' liking a tweet supporting police brutality on Jamia students.
I have immense respect for Akshay Kumar. It must be extremely difficult to be trained in Martial Arts with a spine missing. https://t.co/J5Cwk3hyHY— Keyur (@Keyuratedtweets) December 16, 2019
Regarding the ‘follow’ on the account of @akshaykumar ,it was by mistake. I was scrolling and accidentally it must have been pressed and when I realised I immediately unfollowed him as In no way do I support such phony citizens who use India only when it helps push their career.— Sahil Shah (@SahilBulla) December 16, 2019
BTW, remember Aamir Khan? He had once had made the film Rang De Basanti, that was specifically about raging against the machine.
Yeah, he hasn't spoken a word either.
@aamir_khan Sir you've made a movie about the exact same things that are now happening in universities all over India,JNU,Jadavpur University,Now Jamia Milia,Now is the time to speak up.— Amrito (@amrito333) December 15, 2019
Then there are those like Vicky Kaushal, Raj Kumar Rao and Ayushmann Khuranna, who have become successful by starring in movies about social issues faced by the common man.
Now of course, the three of them tweeted about the incident. But Twitter wasn't too keen on listening to statements littered with 'but' and 'however'.
This is the kind of tweet you get when your PR tells you, "Commenting on this issue will be good for your image" but you don't want to antagonise your selfie buddy and the "how's the josh?" gang. What does this tweet even mean, #VickyKaushal? https://t.co/yqjdit5WBU— Anna MM Vetticad (@annavetticad) December 17, 2019
Admittedly, quite a few members of the Bollywood fraternity, like Sayani Gupta, Richa Chaddha, Reitesh Deshmukh, Konkana Sen Sharma, Anurag Kashyap and Siddharth were quite quick to respond to the attack on students.
On behalf of the students of Jamia & AMU request at least one of you to tweet or message Mr.Modi condemning this act of police brutality and violence against students. The time has come to speak up guys. Yes? No? May be?@RanveerOfficial @karanjohar @ayushmannk @RajkummarRao pic.twitter.com/6l5ky5zbNt— Sayani Gupta (@sayanigupta) December 15, 2019
This is heartbreaking... In which civilized country is this normal ? Why such excessive force ? Who tear gases students studying inside a library? Nothing justifies this. https://t.co/fK2kX17Qqg— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) December 16, 2019
Many others joined in a bit later but did not mince their words.
My heart goes out to all the students back home in Delhi. In a democracy like ours, its sad to see violence against citizens for voicing their opinion through peaceful protests. There should be no place for violence of any form & intent in our country. I strongly condemn this act— Sidharth Malhotra (@SidMalhotra) December 16, 2019
This is unreal. We are a secular democracy. This violence that the police have shown in dealing with the students is terrible. Citizens have the right to peacefully protest. @narendramodi @AmitShah Or that is not an option anymore ??— Huma S Qureshi (@humasqureshi) December 16, 2019
Twitter has also been up in arms against actors and filmmakers who have chosen to remain silent on the matter, often going back in time and taking the curtain off their hypocrisy.
They got all the love from this nation.— ᴛʜᴇ ᴍᴏɴᴋ ᴡʜᴏ sᴏʟᴅ ʜɪs ғAᴋᴇᴇʀɪ (@puntinational) December 17, 2019
We sold our used books to watch their movies.
We prayed when they got injured.
We flooded their gates with our fandom.
And now that the same nation‘s been burning, they took side with the oppressor.
I can't believe indians literally worshipped these morons. Be ashamed today you all. None of your fav celebrities, influencers have spoken up or joined the protests. Do you see this thing that they don't fucking care about us. #BollywoodKeBekaarBuddhe— Dormantlyf (@prabal_prince) December 17, 2019
Here's a thread showing which members of the Indian film industry have stood with the students of the country.
Vijay Verma, Sayani Gupta, Konkona Sen Sharma, Saba Azad... add to this list if you come across more people... thanks. https://t.co/zYrmG2Sw59— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) December 16, 2019
The truth is that somehow in the last 6 years, the Hindi film industry has managed to make immense amounts of profit from hero-worshipping, while simultaneously shying away from anything that truly matters to the country.
It's shameful, especially when a Hollywood actor like John Cusack talks about the violence at Jamia while the film fraternity remains mute.
Reports from Delhi are it was a war zone last night -— John Cusack (@johncusack) December 16, 2019
Fascism is not a joke - we use the word with the understanding it’s deadly
Is it fear for their own safety? Or maybe it's about the money their movies make, either way, every crowd has a breaking point. I am afraid the fans have reached theirs.